World Literature as a Pact with Books: Lecture by B. Venkat Mani

Lecture by B. Venkat Mani on ‘World Literature as a Pact with Books: From Orientalist to Postcolonial “Bibliomigrancy”’ [Critical Humanities event]. It was chaired by Baidik Bhattacharya


Drawing on his multiple award winning book Recoding World Literature (Fordham University Press, 2017), the speaker in this lecture presents a historical conceptual career of the term. He attempts to show how an engagement with the materiality of books can help understand how the terms such as “masterpiece” or “timeless” are key to expose the political foundations of world literature. By locating translation, publication, and circulation along routes of “bibliomigrancy”--the physical and virtual movement of books--he will narrate how world literature is coded and recoded as literary works find new homes on faraway bookshelves. The shifting of current scholarship's focus from the university to the public sphere can help us understand the multiple meanings of world literature. 

B. Venkat Mani is Professor of German and World Literature and former Director of Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His numerous publications include Cosmopolitical Claims (2007); Recoding World Literature (2017); and as co-editor, What Counts as World Literature? (2013) and The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature (2020). 

Baidik Bhattacharya is Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 12 March 2021, 9 pm, Zoom